24 Best Things To Do in Norwalk, CT with Kids

Find something to smile about with the best things to do in Norwalk, CT with kids!
Find something to smile about with the best things to do in Norwalk, CT with kids!
3/12/23 - By Ally Noel

The top things to do in Norwalk cater to tourists and locals alike, with a family-friendly eclectic mix of urban, coastal, and charming neighborhood experiences.  Norwalk highlights include two of Connecticut's most popular attractions: The Maritime Aquarium and Stepping Stones Museum for Children. Norwalk’s proximity to the Long Island Sound provides visitors with access to the coastline at Calf Pasture Beach and Sheffield Island and its dedication to diversity can be tasted and seen through its thriving restaurant and arts scene.

Perhaps most importantly, Norwalk is the place that I have called home for just about a dozen years, and it is the place where I choose to raise my family. We have all grown up in this town. We celebrated the last days of school and birthdays at Mr. Frosty's. We said farewell to Summer at the Oyster Fest, spent way too many early baby mornings at Stepping Stones, and developed a close friendship with the seals at the Maritime. Norwalk is our home, and I am so happy to share it with you. 

You can follow along with all my adventures by following along on Instagram.


Best Things To Do in Norwalk - Top Attractions

1. Stepping Stones Museum

Without question, Stepping Stones is the crown jewel of children’s museums in Fairfield County. Kids of all ages can spend hours exploring the museum’s hands-on approach to learning. The galleries there are filled with tons of engaging exhibits that will appeal to the entire family.

Image of child at tank at Maritime Museum-Things To Do in Norwalk, CT 
See undersea wonders when you visit Norwalk, CT. Pinniped Cove photo courtesy of the Maritime Aquarium

2. Maritime Aquarium 

Sharks. Octopuses. Seahorses. Jellies and meerkats. We have spent hours exploring the halls of this Norwalk institution. The newly added 4D theater and renovated Pinniped Cove are sure to delight visitors of all ages. Don’t forget to check out the educational cruises throughout the year. The TGIF and Seal-Spotting Cruises allow the whole family to get out onto the water. 

3. Sheffield Island

A perfect day-trip destination, Sheffield Island is centrally located on the Long Island Sound and is home to the historic Sheffield Island Lighthouse. The Norwalk Seaport Association maintains the lighthouse and operates a daily ferry during the summer (weekends only in the late spring and early fall), plus hosts special events such as pirate-adventure weekends and evening clambakes. 

Photo of kids at Long Island Sound-Things To Do in Norwalk, CT

Situated on Long Island Sound, Norwalk offers spectacular outdoor fun!

4. Calf Pasture Beach 

There is so much going on at Calf Pasture Beach all summer long.  Enjoy the playgrounds, a splash pad, and playgrounds and more all situated on 3/4 of a mile of open coastline with beautiful views.  There are also special events scheduled all season long from car shows to concerts. Enjoy a meal at Ripkas Beach Cafe, a full service restaurant.

5. SONO Switch Tower Museum 

Admission to this small museum is free, so it is well worth a walk over from the Maritime Aquarium. Train enthusiasts of all ages will love learning about the only "Armstrong" switch lever machine in Connecticut.

6. Mill Hill Historic Park & Historical Society 

You can explore the history of Norwalk in two locations: Mill Hill Historic Park and society’s museum on East Ave. The museum is open for self-guided tours on select days of the week. Mill Hill Historic Park is open daily from sunrise to sunset. The historic park features several historic building and an antique cemetery.  

Image of Lockwood Matthews Mansion-Things To Do in Norwalk, CT 
Step back into history at Norwalk's family attractions. Photo courtesy of the Lockwood Matthews Mansion

7. Lockwood Matthews Mansion 

The Lockwood-Matthews Mansion is one of the biggest and most beautiful historic house-museums in Connecticut. Many of its rooms on the first-floor have been renovated and restored: its movie-worthy rotunda, luxurious and impeccably elegant library, music, dining and billiard rooms could have been in the mansion of Great Gatsby. The mansion is located smack-dab in the middle of Matthews Park, which is also home to Stepping Stones Museum for Children and the nautical-inspired playground, Devon's Place. 

Best Things to Do in Norwalk - Activities

8. Norwalk's Thriving Arts Scene

Whether it’s taking in a show at the Music Theater of Ct, listening to live music at the Wall St Theater, or enjoying the sounds of the symphony at Norwalk Concert Hall - the arts are alive and well in Norwalk! 

9. Panic Room Norwalk 

It takes a lot of team work to get out of one of these challenging rooms.  Instead of just trying to "escape," participants are given a mission to accomplish.
Photo of children over foam pit in Sky Zone - Norwalk, CT.

Find indoor fun (and some foam-filled adventure) at Sky Zone in Norwalk, CT.

10. Sky Zone

Sky Zone offers open jump sessions, a Foam Zone, where kids can jump from a trampoline runway into a pit filled with 10,000 foam cubes, and Sky Slam, where trampoline launch pads bounce you ten feet in the air so that you can dunk your basketball like a pro. 

11. Stew Leonards 

Stew Leonard’s is like the Disneyland of grocery stores and the original is right here in Norwalk. With animatronic musical characters, real life farm animals, tons of family fun events, oh - and delicious food! 

12. Norwalk Cove Marina Mini Golf

Sitting within sight of Long Island Sound, Norwalk Cove Marina Mini-Golf offers 18 holes of pro-style miniature fun in the warmer months. Refresh with a snack from the nearby Waterfront Cafe.

13. Grit Ninja 

If you have ever dreamed of being a ninja warrior, this is your spot! You can check it all out on the weekends during their drop-in sessions 

14. SoNo Collection 

In addition to some of the areas finest indoor shopping, the SoNo Collection is also home to the Connecticut outpost of CAMP. The mall also houses the family friendly Yard House, Pinstripes, and Galaxy VR.  

Photo of children eating ice cream outside Mr. Frosty's in Norwalk, CT.

Nothing says "kid-friendly" quite like ice cream from Mr. Frosty's in Norwalk.

Places to Eat in Norwalk 

15. Mr. Frosty’s

Nestled into a corner of East Norwalk, Mr. Frosty’s is the perfect place to stop by after a day at the beach, a celebration, or just about anything else. This spot is a personal  family favorite, we love checking out the rotating list of seasonal specials. 

16. Caffee Social 

Located in SoNo, this is the best spot for breakfasts, brunch, coffee, or stop by for lunch after a trip to the aquarium, Caffee Social has a pretty eclectic menu of comfort foods, but we always go for the pancake special. 

17. O’Neill’s Irish Pub & Restaurant

Also located in SoNo, O’Neills serves up classic Irish pub food with a great children’s menu. 

18. Sunset Grille 

You can sit out on the deck and watch the boats come in at Sunset Grille. This season spot serves up delicious local seafood and a classic New England menu. 

19. Valencia Luncheria 

The arepas at Valencia are some of the best that we’ve ever had. With classics like ham & cheese, or black beans and queso–don’t forget to order the Zach–you will not be sorry! 

Photo of kids at outdoor fair-Things To Do in Norwalk

Head to Norwalk for fairs, festivals, and all sorts of seasonal fun for kids.

Best Things To Do in Norwalk - Annual Events

20. Oyster Festival

Summer isn’t over until the Oyster Festival has come to town! This three day celebration is always the weekend after Labor Day. A classic midway, live music, and TONS of food to eat, we look forward to the Oyster Fest every year.  

21. Haunting of Mill Hill 

A perfect mix of history and horror. Every Halloween, a Haunting of Mill Hill retells the tales of the darkside of Norwalk’s history. 

22. SoNo Arts Festival 

The Puppet Parade is a must-do for any Connecticut Kid! With More than 100 juried fine art and craft artists and vendors this annual street fair brings the arts to life in the streets of SoNo. 

23. NICE Fest 

A celebration of world cultures, the NICE Fest provides a stage to showcase the diversity of this city on the Sound.  

24. Norwalk Boat Show

Get out on the water with family fun activities, including Touch Tanks with live tidepool creatures, paddle boating in a mini pool, toy boat-building workshops, and more.


All photos by the author unless otherwise indicated.